A ‘Green Paper’ for discussion
Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 2
What is Workforce Development?..................................................................................... 2
The Current Environment .................................................................................................. 5
The GFC................................................................................................................................. 5
Workforce Development Strategies ................................................................................. 6
Strategy 1: Growing the Workforce ......................................................................... 7
Priority 1.1 Enhancing enterprise attraction strategies ........................................ 7
Priority 1.2 Seeking new workers for industry ....................................................... 9
Priority 1.3 Valuing the traditional workforce ..................................................... 10
Priority 1.4 Meeting the challenges of a new generation of workers .............. 11
Strategy 2: Strengthening Careers and Retaining Skills..................................... 12
Priority 2.1 Building enterprise capacity .............................................................. 13
Priority 2.2 Strengthening and extending career paths ..................................... 14
Strategy 3: Creating World-Leading Skills............................................................. 15
Priority 3.1 Supporting new fields of work ........................................................... 17
Priority 3.2 Providing flexible training and assessment .................................... 18
Process for Validation ....................................................................................................... 19
Bibliography ....................................................................................................................... 20
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page i
Date: 1st March 2010 Version 1
The Construction & Property Services Industry Skills Council (CPSISC) is in the process of
preparing a Workforce Development Strategy to support those industries that fall within
This ‘Green Paper’ has been prepared to elicit input and discussion by the construction
and property services industries. The Workforce Development Strategy must be ‘owned’ by
industry to be useful and authoritative.
A green paper does not represent policy and is prepared for consultation. The
feedback received will be further informed by the results of survey data gathered as
part of a separate but related process. This information will then be used to inform
the development of the final paper.
The Implementation of the Strategy will also be supported by the development of a
more detailed tactical or operational plan to support the work of the CPSISC and its
Workforce Development team.
What is Workforce Development?
Workforce development extends beyond training and encompasses the full range of
activities that industries and enterprises use to ensure they have access to the skilled
workforce that is required to meet both current and future needs. Workforce development
therefore embraces many of the tools of human resource management and includes ways
to attract, retain and skill the workforce.
The all embracing nature of workforce development means that there are many
stakeholders and an equally diverse range of perspectives. From a government viewpoint
there is a need to understand major trends in workforce development needs so that plans
and funding strategies can be put in place to meet growing or changing requirements.
Skills Australia, for example, is in the process of developing an overarching workforce
development strategy and states that this “encompasses three interrelated elements:
the demand for future skills and what planning for the future entails
improving the value from the skills investments being made in the existing and
future workforce, through greater attention to how skills are used in a workplace
joining up separate areas of government action on workforce participation, social
inclusion and innovation so policies on skills connect with wider economic,
employment and social strategies.
It is planned that this Workforce Development Strategy will be used by Skills Australia,
amongst other stakeholders, to improve understanding of the needs of two of the nation’s
most significant industries.
Also at a national level, peak industry associations and unions too have a perspective and
role to play in identifying and advocating major workforce development strategies that
will ensure their industries have access to the appropriately skilled workforce required for
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |2
Peak bodies have a particular commitment to ensuring the ‘skills infrastructure’ is in place
to support their enterprises, grow their industries’ performance and position them for
medium and long term success. At a national level this commitment focuses upon ensuring
the adequacy of funding by government, and users, to purchase training and the advocacy
of the adoption of Training Packages and delivery strategies that reflect enterprise needs.
This high level and wide ranging focus also seeks to improve national apprenticeship and
traineeship models to equip new entrants and support employers during the lengthy skill
development processes that is required.
At a local level, individual enterprises are vitally concerned with the development of their
individual workforces – indeed, it is critical to their success and sustainability. Ensuring
access to skilled workers is essential and tactics to attract, retain and upskill workers are
an ongoing focus for most businesses. While the success of local, enterprise based,
workforce development planning is within the purview of the individual company there is a
significant role that can be played at a national level.
The CPSISC is well placed to inform enterprises of trends and options open to them as they
seek to ensure they have access to the skilled workforce they require. It is also the role of
the national Industry Skills Council to advocate the needs of enterprises to government
and the training systems and to support key industry stakeholders as they too seek to
support the nation’s building, construction and property services enterprises.
This Workforce Development Strategy will also ‘sit’ amongst and support other key
strategies and programs of the CPSISC identified at the CPSISC 2009 national conference
Meeting the Challenges, as:
CPSISC EMPLOYERS RTOs
Long term plan: Workforce development: Quality outcomes:
To continue to use the Creation and implementation Working with the AQTF
Environmental Scan 2009-10 and of strategies that will ensure requirements and RTO
its strategic plan to outline the access to skills to meet the networks to create quality
goals and strategies for future challenges of each of assessment and training
workforce development within the sectors. delivery practices.
Engagement with industry: Retention of apprentices: Flexible delivery:
Continue to plan and implement Develop and implement Explore and develop
processes that will engage all strategies that will target assessment and delivery
sectors within industry. This the retention of apprentices strategies that will meet
will include developing within the construction learner and employer
specialised strategies for industry. requirements.
engagement with key groups
such as employers, providers
Research and information: Career approach: Partnerships:
Increase CPSISC’s capacity to Embrace ‘a career approach’ Proactively seek partnerships
undertake and communicate the which will require with enterprises to develop
latest research in workforce investment to meet customised work
development practices individual’s aspirations development strategies.
throughout industry. within the industry.
Implementation strategy: Engage Generation Y: Link training and licensing:
To build on the current training Research and implement Commence developing
implementation strategy as the strategies that will target training and assessment
basis for developing an the needs of Generation Y in strategies that will provide
effective network of RTOs, the work environment. outcomes that are linked to
partnered with available quality licensing requirements.
training assessment resources,
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |3
CPSISC EMPLOYERS RTOs
to assist effective
implementation of training
Responsive training packages and RTO partnerships: Links with higher education:
To use key groups such as Explore the capacity to
Continue to implement the CPSISC and State IABs to develop articulation
continuous improvement assist in brokering arrangements with higher
strategy as an efficient means relationships with RTOs in education institutions.
to adapt training packages to meeting workforce
meet industry needs. development requirements.
Professional development of RTOs: Think sustainable work Long term planning:
To use CPSISC’s current Engage in long term planning
implementation strategy to Understand and embrace the to ensure capacity to meet
provide an effective means for opportunities provided by the challenge of future skill
RTO professional development. the introduction of needs of the industry.
sustainable work practices.
Special needs (LLN/green skills): Professional development:
To explore and implement Proactively seek
strategies, including WELL opportunities for
initiatives, to meet the special professional development for
needs of all industry sectors. trainers and assessors.
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |4
The Current Environment
The building, construction and property services industries are large, economically
important and employ almost two million Australians. Based on 2008/09 data building and
construction contributed approximately $64 billion (5.4% of national output) while the
property services industry added $62 billion to the Australian economy1.
The industries play a central role in underpinning the nation’s economic performance.
Activity within the building and construction industry has a significant ‘multiplier effect’
and stimulates output and employment across the economy in general – an attribute that
was recognised by the federal government in 2008-09 when stimulation of the industry was
used to shore up Australia’s economy from the worst of the global financial crisis. This
multiplier effect is estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as being 2.866 meaning
that for every $1 million increase in output by the construction industry there will be an
additional $2.9 million of output elsewhere in the community. An additional $1 million
dollars of construction expenditure also involves $217,000 of employee earnings and
generates 9 jobs2.
The strength of the Property Services industry is also influenced by the performance of the
building and construction industry by the flow-on in jobs in, for example, spatial
information management, real estate, cleaning, waste management and security.
The relatively modest growth in unemployment levels that has been experienced during
the recent economic downturn has puzzled many economists but underscores businesses
commitment to retaining their workers. Although across the economy the hours worked
have declined it is clear that employers have sought to retain their staff and the skills and
experience they bring. Employers are also aware that employing new staff, when the
economy begins to grow, is expensive and dislocating with an impact on the productivity
of the enterprise.
A study conducted by the Australian Industry Group and Deloitte3 found that it in the
recent downturn the main strategies that businesses adopted to minimise job losses were
reducing non-labour costs (44.8% of respondents); reducing hours worked (39.6%); freezing
salaries and bonuses (35.4%) and bring forward leave (32.2%).
The study also found that during the recent downturn businesses indicated an intention to
reduce spending on skill development (by an average of 4.1% during the current financial
year). This concern is accompanied by evidence that enterprises are keenly aware that
problems related to skill shortages will grow as the economy gathers pace. This is also
clear evidence that individual enterprises are practising a key aspect of Workforce
Development, namely the retention of staff and skills.
1 Drawn from CPSISC Environmental Scan
2 HIA Economics Group Research Note: The multiplier effects of housing, January 2010
3 National CEO Survey: Skilling business in tough times, AIG, October 2009
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |5
Workforce Development Strategies
Individual enterprises and industry at large have a strong need and commitment to address
the three major planks in the Workforce Development platform, namely the:
Skill development of
of a Workforce
requires that all three
aspects are addressed and
that the effort of local
businesses and national
industry leaders coalesce
to drive a coordinated
This strategy, per force, provides an overarching view from a national view point.
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |6
Strategy 1: Growing the Workforce
Attracting appropriately skilled workers has always been a major focus of businesses
including those within the building, construction and property services industries.
This focus on the development of strong attraction or recruitment strategies will grow as
increasing competition for workers makes the challenge of finding the ‘right’ and qualified
worker more of a challenge for businesses. There is evidence that the recent economic
downturn has done little to mask deep seated skill shortages and that the economic
recovery that is gaining strength will see employers struggling to recruit appropriate
employees, who represent a good ‘fit’ with the organisation, during 2010 and beyond.
Cyclical economic growth will also drive the need for additional workers in both the
Construction and Property Services industries and this will be exacerbated by the nation’s
significant housing shortage. Australia’s housing shortage currently stands at 190,000
dwellings, a situation that will remain a challenge for the foreseeable future as population
grows, and which will in turn see an increasingly high demand for all workers in the
It is also recognised that the attraction of a skilled workforce is not directly within the
province of the CPSISC or industry associations and stakeholders – it is primarily the
responsibility of enterprises. However, it is also believed that in order to provide a holistic
Workforce Development approach that the issues must be addressed and the roles of
national bodies and government in supporting the process should be articulated.
Priority 1.1 Enhancing enterprise attraction strategies
The CPSISC, through its Workforce Development program, has committed significant
resources to support individual enterprises with the Workforce Planning processes
including making available tools for skills gap analysis.
CPSISC also has a long history of resourcing its Careers program and provides access to
careers advice for potential new entrants, parents and careers advisers.
There is also recognition that industry associations and state and federal governments
contribute funding and support for a range of valuable information services including the
‘My Future’ website.
CPSISC is committed to extending the reach of these programs and to bringing a more
holistic and coordinated approach to the dissemination of information. In recent years the
provision of careers information, by the vocational education and training community, has
sought to provide a ‘supply’ of potential new entrants to industry. With a maturing of
these services it is now increasingly clear that effort has to focus on the ‘demand side’ of
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |7
Enterprises are aware of the difficulty of attracting new employees with the right blend of
skills and who represent a ‘good fit’ with their business. Poor recruitment practices can
lead to high levels of staff ‘churn’ and high costs as well as lost productivity.
CPSISC is looking forward to working with its industry partners to improve the planning
processes of enterprises to ensure greater success in attracting the right employees.
Action Program Outlines
1 Promote the industries as CPSISC to develop further its ‘construct my career’
‘destinations of choice’ website
Industry, supported by government, to develop further
the careers website ‘www.bigplans.com.au’
2 Support enterprises to develop CPSISC to develop further and extend the reach of the
and implement strong ‘Workforce Skills Gap’ program
‘workforce development plans’
CPSISC to partner with industry stakeholders to support
enterprises to develop sound and appropriate
Workforce Development Plans – including succession
planning, enterprise skills needs analysis and
3 Foster and promote government CPSISC to extend its role in leveraging the investment
initiatives that make available of governments and industry in the promotion of
career information and promote workforce and careers development (eg the ‘My
choice of construction & Futures’ program and website)
property services careers
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |8
Priority 1.2 Seeking new workers for industry
The challenges that enterprises currently experience in accessing workers are set to
increase. The ageing of the population is now a well understood construct and this will
mean that there will be a proportionately smaller pool of workers from which to draw.
Forty years ago, the labour force was dominated by men who started work when they
turned 15 or 16 and worked till they retired at 65 on the age pension. Many spent 50 years
in the workforce4. The structure of the Australian labour market has changed and the
participation rates for men of prime working age are, however, approximately 9% lower
than they were in 1970, and are low compared to other OECD countries5.
A clear strategy that can be adopted to ensure the construction and property services
industries have access to the workforce and skills that are required is to target actively
the recruitment of people from groups who may currently be under-represented in the
A positive example of such a program is the Women into Building6 showcase project that
Elevate awareness and acceptance of women who choose to develop a career in
the building and construction industries;
Encourage women to consider the building industry as a career of choice;
Provide mentoring, networking, promotional and learning opportunities for females
crafting a career.
Communicate [the] positive message with optimism, enthusiasm and conviction
This innovative project, sponsored by CPSISC supported by industry and operated by a
creative employer, represents a grass-roots example of efforts to engage an under-
represented group in the construction industry and to promote the industry as a positive
Other groups such as older workers and those from non English speaking backgrounds also
afford a significant opportunity for the construction and property services industries to
expand their workforce catchment groups.
While it is acknowledged not all occupations within the industries will suit all catchment
groups it is also clear that necessity will have to drive all enterprises to seek new recruits
from diverse sources – a process which will also strengthen the fabric and culture of
4Australian Government, The Treasury: Australia’s demographic challenges
http://demographics.treasury.gov.au/content/_download/australias_demographic_challenges/html/adc-02.asp (February 2010)
5 Workforce Futures: Papers to Promote Discussion Towards an Australian Workforce Development Strategy (2009), Skills Australia,
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation Page |9
Action Program Outlines
1 Support and promote innovative CPSISC to extend support and promotion for programs such
‘engagement’ programs to as ‘Women into Building’
attract workers from diverse
demographics CPSISC to partner with industry stakeholders to identify
and promote positive case studies of workers drawn from
non traditional groups
2 Inform industries of the impact CPSISC to conduct primary and secondary research
of demographic on future investigating demographic changes in the workplace and
recruitment the role of expanded and diverse groups in meeting
industries’ skill needs
CPSISC to distribute information about workforce structure
and demographics to industry stakeholders and enterprises
Priority 1.3 Valuing the traditional workforce
While it is critical for industry to be creative in seeking new workers to meet future skill
demands it is also pivotal for the traditional sources of employees to be recognised. This is
particularly true with regard to trade apprentices.
It is also true that the level of current take up of trades is declining and, if the current
patterns persist, it is unlikely that industries’ medium and long term needs for skilled
workers will be met. Recent data from NCVER7 shows that for the 12 months ending 30
June 2009 the number of apprentices and trainees in-training was 424 000, a decrease of
2.4% from one year earlier. The commencement data is similarly sobering with the 12
months ending 30 June 2009 showing a decrease of 6.2% from the previous year to 271
Of this aggregate figure trades commencements decreased by 18.7% while non trade
commencements decreased by 0.5%.
There is clearly a need for increased effort by government and industry to ensure access
to the required pool of skilled trades people in both the near and longer terms. As noted
earlier, the building, construction and property services industries remain at the heart of
the economy and are central to growth and social cohesion. The nation’s housing shortage
will see a steep demand for all construction trades and there is a commensurate flow on
effect of increased building activity throughout the property services industry. It is
recognised that it can be a challenge to recruit into these occupations, which is a
workforce development challenge for all stakeholders, but that does not mean that the
demand will not exist and grow.
7 NCVER, Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees, June quarter
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 10
The rate of employment of apprentices typically declines at times of economic cyclical
downturn which can cause significant skill shortages when the economy grows and skilled
workers are required in greater numbers. It must also be noted that highly technical and
trade skills are not readily transferrable unlike more generic skills in other sectors. The
development of needed technical and trade skills takes time and, as a result, the ability to
meet skill shortages in a short time frame is limited.
Perhaps the most intractable issue facing the building, construction and property services
industries is the development of strategies to stimulate the take up of more
apprenticeships and traineeships and to retain these workers in employment during the
Action Program Outlines
1 Form strategic industry CPSISC to promote the benefits of apprenticeships as a
partnerships to promote the career
strong ‘culture of
apprenticeships’ CPSISC to work with industry partners to conduct primary
and secondary research into medium and longer term
enterprise requirements for skilled labour
CPSISC to partner with industry stakeholders to strengthen
enterprise awareness of the benefits of employing
apprentices and of the incentives that are available
2 Work with government to fine- CPSISC to partner with industry and work with government
tune employer incentives and to secure new incentive schemes aimed at supporting
other strategies to retain apprenticeship levels during time of economic downturn
apprenticeship take up rates
during the full economic cycle CPSISC on behalf of industry to work with NCVER and ABS
to provide more highly granulated data of apprenticeship
commencement and completion data.
Priority 1.4 Meeting the challenges of a new generation
Underpinning all strategies to attract new workers to the building, construction and
property services industries is the need for industry leaders, employers and RTOs to
engage with a new generation of workers.
Much has been written about the characteristics and traits of ‘Generation Y’ and of the
challenges faced by their older employers and trainers in establishing rapport with them.
A report prepared by the National Industry Skills Committee8 indentifies some of the
characteristics and preference of Gen Y found in national and international literature.
These have profound impact on how current training and employment will have to be
Generation Y and VET: The Implications for Business A Strategic Issues Paper (2008), National Industry Skills Committee
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 11
structured to ensure positive engagement with the newest workforce cohort. The
identified characteristics and preference include:
the desire for instant recognition
a tendency to question everything
a resistance to rigidity and a preference for personal flexibility
a dislike for old or outdated technology
a distinctly utilitarian view of education and training
willingness to change employers if they believe they will get a better deal
a preference for personal, one on one relationships
a strong preference for variety and change.
Action Program Outlines
1 Build employer awareness and CPSISC to develop and promote workforce development
skills in working with Gen Y models for attracting, employing and managing Gen Y
CPSISC to work with industry partners to identify and
promote enterprise level case studies of success including
the use of flexible employment models
Strategy 2: Strengthening Careers and Retaining Skills
Skills Australia’s Workforce Futures paper found that “almost half of the workforce
changes their employer every three years, and many people change not just their
employer but also their industry and occupation.9
The cost of recruiting a new worker is far greater than that of retaining an existing worker
and the efforts that have been made during the 2008-2009 economic downturn to retain
staff by reducing other costs and the hours worked is evidence that there is a growing
awareness of this factor across the economy. An estimate cited in an Australian Human
Resources Institute report10 claims that when recruitment, training, specialist knowledge
and productivity loss are considered, it can cost up to 150 percent of an employee’s salary
to replace a skilled position - factors that have real consequences for the financial bottom
line of companies.
9 Workforce Futures: Papers to Promote Discussion Towards an Australian Workforce Development Strategy (2009), Skills Australia,
10 ‘Love ‘em don’t lose ‘em’: identifying retention strategies that work (2008), AHRI, page 1
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Priority 2.1 Building enterprise capacity
The reasons for retaining workers and avoiding unproductive staff churn are clear and
form an important part of any Workforce Development plan.
Key to achieving an effective retention strategy is understanding the forces that may
cause a worker to move. While some workers may choose to leave for unavoidable reasons
there is typically a complex web of factors that prompt the decision and these must be
understood within workplaces to achieve the best outcomes. The factors that prompt an
individual to leave work include11:
Retention Factor Description Retention Strategy
Psychological Needs Personal growth Training & Development
Job Satisfaction Job redesign
Use of mentoring and coaching
Work Environment Nature and strength of Improved supervisory and
working relationships managerial approaches and style
Level of work satisfaction Improved induction processes
Sense of well-being Improved communications and
Working conditions involvement
Company ethics and fit Work design to promote a work-
with personal perspective life balance
Conditions and Recognition Salary & rewards Competitive pay and conditions
Work conditions Opportunities for
Career advancement Career management support
opportunities Flexible working
Confidence in the Family-friendly provisions (above
Working with industry and enterprises to improve grass-roots retention must be a major
Action Program Outlines
1 Build employer awareness and CPSISC to develop and promote workforce retention
skills in implementing staff models, tools and advice for retaining workers and
retention strategies ensuring access to required skills
CPSISC to work with industry partners to identify and
promote enterprise level case studies of the successful use
of retention strategies across enterprises of all sizes and
11 Based on a model in Recruitment without retention: HR suicide? (2003), Talent Drain, page 10
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 13
Priority 2.2 Strengthening and extending career paths
Integral to retention strategies (both within enterprises and within the industry at large) is
the ability to provide career pathways for individual workers.
This has long been a focus in the development of national Training Packages and is already
a concept well represented within industries’ and CPSISC literature.
It is, however, recognised that on-the-ground opportunities are not always readily
available particularly within smaller enterprises. This is a significant challenge for
employers and is reflected elsewhere in this document when discussing retention
strategies and meeting the ‘mind set’ of the new generation of employees.
The structural change that is occurring in many enterprises, particularly the ‘flattening’ of
organisational structures, is removing traditional career pathways that see people progress
in a linear manner from entry level positions through to supervisory and finally managerial
roles. The current realisation facing the baby-boomer generation that they may have to
work longer to secure their retirement will also limit career progression opportunities for
Industry, enterprises and individuals will have to adjust expectations about what
constitutes a ‘normal’ career path and enterprises have the opportunity, and need, to
offer more creative solutions to young people that will maintain their engagement with,
and commitment to, the workplace and the industry.
Satisfactory career pathways may be forged through lateral moves that would see workers,
for example, moving from technical to administrative roles or vice versa. The opportunity
to broaden skills or change career directions within an enterprise or to change work
locations also represent career-changes, and growth, for younger workers. Similarly, the
opportunity to study or take mini-career breaks to try other work experiences may retain
valuable workers in the longer term and provide them with a sense of career
Action Program Outlines
1 Develop deeper understanding of CPSISC to work with industry partners to conduct research
contemporary and realistic and case studies of the successful and alternate career
career pathways pathways within and across industries.
CPSISC and industry partners to advocate with government
for a fresh and innovative approach to career pathway
development and the provision of advice.
2 Promote and communicate CPSISC has a major commitment to the provision of career
career pathway advice advice and services and this will be continued. The
outcomes of the research being conducted within this area
will be integrated into ongoing program development and
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 14
Strategy 3: Creating World-Leading Skills
CPSISC recognises that the effective building of industry skills requires a partnership
between industry, enterprises and training providers. It has long been believed that the
role played by workplaces in building and extending skills is under-recognised and under-
CPSISC also believes that the difficulties enterprises face in negotiating the recognised
VET system result in too few workers having their skills formally recognised by the
awarding of qualifications.
Addressing the system
Although there have been steps taken during the past decade to make recognised training
more accessible, many employers, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, still
find the VET system opaque, mysterious and inflexible. While addressing this challenge
will require a multi-faceted response it is clear that lifting the industry experience and
skill levels of trainers and streamlining information provision will lead to better and more
engaged access with the formal VET system than is currently the case.
CPSISC on behalf of its industries seeks to work with governments to refine the VET system
a more holistic approach to skill and workforce development
recognition of the contribution and role played by workplaces in the growth of the
greater flexibility and creativity in the provision of formalised skill development
greater accessibility to education and training through the use of a variety of
better, more realistic and more flexible funding models
a focus on the continual improvement in the quality and relevance of formal
education and training
a nuanced planning process that enables the diverse needs of industries and the
requirements of niche as well as large sectors to be well supported
decision-making based on better data
skill development that is ‘fleet of foot’ and enables enterprises and individuals to
respond to emerging skill development needs
opportunities for the life long building of skills (from a firm initial base)
the recognition of these skills irrespective of whether they are developed in the
workplace, a VET provider’s campus or a university.
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 15
Developing new skills for the future
While effort is required to continually refine and improve the delivery of recognised
training and assessment, industries also require access to new and contemporary skills
that will see them prosper into the future while providing relevant and stimulating
learning for workers.
The upskilling of the existing workforce, in addition to entry level training, is essential to
ensure access to the skills necessary in workplaces that face rapid and ongoing change
work practice change
competitive pressures and change
It is a truism to say that many of the jobs of the future may currently not exist, or may
exist only in an embryonic form. Preparing for such change will require strong partnerships
between industry, government and the training system.
Other change will be less radical and more incremental and will see the need for the
workforce to build both new technical skills and skills that will equip them to manage and
respond to change.
The construction and property services industries have long been in the forefront of
responding to industries’ changed skill needs. Recent examples have included work to
develop qualification for the totally new career of ‘green’ or home sustainability
assessors. Similarly, over many years, reviews to the CPSISC portfolio of Training Packages
have seen ongoing development of qualifications and units of competency that reflect
industries’ need to work sustainably and in an environmentally friendly manner.
Under the Skilling Australia for the Future initiative, the Australian Government has
funded the Productivity Places Program (PPP) which is designed to deliver 711,000
qualification commencements over 5 years. The intent is that the qualifications will grow
skills within enterprises and by the program being industry-driven that training will be
more responsive to the needs of businesses and workers.
CPSISC has committed significant resources to the roll-out of the PPP to its industries. In
addition to facilitating access to training there is a parallel role to be played by CPSISC
and industry to provide enterprises with information and advice that will help target the
training they seek for workers under the PPP. It is too easy for training to be rolled out
for ‘immediate needs’ and the opportunitiy exists in coming years to improve the provision
of services to meet medium and longer term needs in order to strengthen enterprises’
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 16
The challenge of change will continue. There is an ongoing need to identify and support
emerging skill needs and to ‘shorten the cycle’ between the identification of skill needs
and the development of skill development responses.
Priority 3.1 Supporting new fields of work
Action Program Outlines
1 Provide leadership in the CPSISC to work with industry partners to maintain and
identification of new fields and grow current capacity to research and identify emerging
ways of work job roles and skill needs.
CPSISC and industry partners to communicate and
advocate industry needs with government and the training
2 Build responsive national CPSISC is charged with the development and maintenance
training tools of national industry Training Packages and insightful and
well researched identification of emerging job role and
skill needs will be central to the continuous improvement
3 Focus current funding initiatives CPSISC to extend current roll-out of the Productivity
to address emerging skill needs Places Program and to provide targeted advice to
and the existing workforce enterprises about the effective use of PPP to target
emerging skill needs
4 Promote and communicate CPSISC and its industry partners to undertake a
emerging skill needs to coordinated communication process to share industry
enterprises intelligence with enterprises about emerging
technological, work practice or other changes that will
impact the need for workplace skills in the near and
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 17
Priority 3.2 Providing flexible training and
Further steps are required to align the provision of training delivery and assessment with
A more detailed discussion of the need for change within the formal VET system is
provided in the introduction to Strategy 3.
Industry requires and seeks an increase in the practical provision of flexible training and
assessment services. Too often the rhetoric of flexibility is not met by the reality of
provision which is frequently driven by the needs of training providers who cite that
flexible off-campus delivery cannot be readily provided within restrictive funding models.
Although strides are being made in this direction more work needs to be done and greater
access to workplace and highly contextualised delivery is required.
Action Program Outlines
1 Seek revision of funding models Ongoing and systematic work by CPSISC and industry to be
conducted to advocate and refine current funding models
Costs and benefits of workplace and other forms
of flexible delivery
The value of the financial contribution made by
employers and employees to the training and
2 Seek greater flexibility and CPSISC has a major commitment to the provision of
options in the provision of flexible training and assessment. This commitment will
training and assessment services continue and through the promulgation of its Workforce
Development strategy it will be expanded.
CPSISC will take the lead in informing the VET system and
government of industry needs in this area by conducting
and promoting primary research to provide more finely
granulated and ‘grass roots’ understanding of the issue to
RTOs and policy makers.
CPSISC through its web-based Resources Centre and
projects to support the implementation of Training
Packages will continue to extend provision of practical
support to RTOs seeking to offer high quality and flexible
training and assessment to industry
3 Seek increased recognition of CPSISC will continue to advocate to RTOs the need for the
workers existing skills proper application of recognition assessment processes
and the use of ‘accelerated assessment’ to ensure the
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 18
existing skills of workers are recognised and rewarded
4 Focus on literacy, numeracy and CPSISC will continue to seek and advocate the availability
employability skills of federal funding to support an expanded roll out of
literacy, numeracy and essential work skills for new
entrants and existing members of the workforce
5 Support upskilling of the RTO CPSISC, on behalf of industry, will work with State
workforce Training systems to increase access to professional
development for the teaching and assessment staff of
RTOs including ensuring staff have appropriate and current
Process for Validation
This Workforce Development strategy has been developed through a process of research
and informed and validated by the input of the CPSISCs key industry partners.
The process entails :
Preparation of a Green Paper for consultation
Conduct of primary research with enterprises and other industry stakeholders
Review and input by CPSISC staff
Preparation and sign-off of the final Workforce Development strategy by the board
Workforce Development Strategy: A Green Paper for Consultation P a g e | 19
AHRI/HR Pulse: ‘Love ‘em don’t lose ‘em’: identifying retention strategies that
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June quarter 2009, NCVER
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Economic analysis of building and construction industry productivity: 2009 Report.
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Generation Y and VET: the implications for business - a strategic issues paper.
National Industry Skills Committee, 2008
HIA economics group research note: Australia rising to the challenge of difficult
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HIA economics group research note: building and construction occupations 1996-
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